years ago, on a very brief visit to the Ottawa area, a fellow talked about skating to work on the Rideau Canal. it sounded like such a lovely way to get to work, that i was envious. then, just a few short years ago, another fellow, who moved into my neighborhood, and happened to be a musician, became a good friend. somehow the subject of the canal came up in conversation. i told him how i'd love to skate it one day. he then told me the lovely and romantic story of his grandfather, who, as a young man, lived in Ottawa, and skated the canal with his violin strapped to his back, to and from teaching violin lessons at a girls' school run by nuns there. a certain very lovely young nun was a very fine pianist, and often accompanied him, and his students in performances. as they became better acquainted, he fell hopelessly in love with her. they had much more than music in common, and in time he persuaded her to leave the cloister and become his wife. all of their children, and every generation since, has been made up of exceptional musicians, so i'd say the union was well blessed.
since hearing that story, i've been more determined than ever, to visit Ottawa in winter, and skate the Rideau canal. as luck would have it, a very good friend moved to Ottawa in the fall of 2007, so it seemed like the perfect set-up.... visit my friend, and check one thing off my 'bucket list'.
it was cold, for Ottawa.... -15 C with a brisk wind. but to a northern alberta girl, who's spent a number of years in the Yukon, that was no deterrent at all. and i had only one day left before returning home, so i borrowed some skates from my friend, and off i went.
i started out @ Dow's Lake. after a couple of nasty falls ..... feet take air, and head for the heavens.... thud!! oh please, God, no.... i didn't land on the camera!!!? .... no.... the pain in my hip says i didn't...... i learned that ice is much harder than it used to be years ago. stopped midway for a world-famous Beaver Tail (maple drizzled) coasted elegantly to the 0.0 km marker an landed gracefully, if somewhat suddenly, on my bum. i'd thought at the beginning that i'd be lucky to make a kilometer before every thing hurt.... between the falls and the not having been on skates for more than 30 years, but it was too much fun to quit, so after covering the distance from Dow's Lake to the zero marker, i turned around and skated back to Dow's Lake, where i finished up with some mexican food and a Guinness at the pavilion @ Dow's Lake.